Weekend reading

Source: Weekend reading


Transgender Woman Pleas for Basic Rights in Secret Video from Prison

Prison Photography


Prisons are hostile, and potentially lethal, environments for transgender individuals. The acute need for understanding, medical care, and protection from predatory abuse is made visible for us through the remarkable efforts of Ashley diamond, a woman incarcerated in the mens’ Georgia State Prison.

Hearing her case and the evidence put forth by her advocates, The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), it is a wonder Ms. Diamond is still alive. She has suffered no fewer than seven serious sexual assaults in the three years of her term.

Georgia’s prison system is notoriously dysfunctional and brutal. The prison in which Ms. Diamond is incarcerated is Georgia State. It had more sexual assaults between 2009 and 2014 than all but one other state prison. Ms. Diamond’s access to safety is merely one of her request in the recent lawsuit. Mainly, Ms. Diamond asks that her medically…

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Why some Guatemalans in this Florida city fear white guys driving big pickup trucks



JUPITER, Florida — Onesimo “Marcelino” Lopez-Ramos was savagely beaten to death in the brief time it took Heather Burga to go inside to use the bathroom.

From the window, Burga saw a sudden frenzy of flashlights darting across the darkened yard, where moments earlier she had been quietly drinking a late-night beer with her friend Marcelino and two of his family members.

“No one was yelling; it was just commotion—suddenly there were people running all over the yard,” she said, remembering the night of Friday, April 17.

Scene of the crime: Marcelino was beaten to death in his own yard (photo/ Tim Rogers) Scene of the crime: Marcelino was beaten to death in his own yard (photo/ Tim Rogers)

When Burga returned outside, 18-year-old Marcelino was slumped dead in the driveway, laying face-down with blood spilling from his head. The mysterious assailants had scampered off into the thickening night, leaving Burga and Marcelino’s injured brother to wait for the police in panicked disbelief.

Onesimo 'Marcelino' Lopez-Ramos Onesimo ‘Marcelino’ Lopez-Ramos

“The whole…

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Obama: Let transgender people adopt



Earlier this year, President Obama became the first president to acknowledge transgender people in a State of the Union address. Now he appears to be the first president to explicitly say gender identity shouldn’t prevent anyone from adopting or becoming a foster parent.

The historic show of support was part of a proclamation issued by the White House Thursday—about two weeks after elected officials in Florida debated whether some agencies in the state could ban LGBT couples from becoming foster care parents.

“With so many children waiting for loving homes, it is important to ensure all qualified caregivers have the opportunity to serve as foster or adoptive parents, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status,” President Obama wrote.

In a 2009 proclamation Obama said his administration supported “adoption rights” for LGBT Americans. His latest comments, however, explicitly mention gender identity.

proclomationA number of states including Mississippi…

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A Gay Dad Sounds Off on the Elementary School Mob That Cancelled a Play About a Gay Penguin Family

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We are penguins

There was a significant hearing this week on Tuesday about same sex relationships and whether to ban them. You likely missed this one because you were focused on that OTHER hearing in front of the Supreme Court, the one on whether all states in the union should perform and recognize same sex marriages.

No, this hearing was smaller, with less attention and could have been held in what might be described as a wholly alternative universe.

This hearing was in front of a school board in Catheys Valley, Mariposa County, California. It was held in a place where same sex marriage legally exists without question.

Unlike the Supreme Court, which was surrounded by folks waving banners of equality, tolerance and the love that creates families, this hearing was full of people who wanted none of that and took offense against anyone who did not look and act like them.

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Baltimore cheers as charges filed in Freddie Gray’s death


Charges of homicide, manslaughter, misconduct and more have been filed against six police officers who were involved in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland State Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced on Friday.

All six officers were already suspended due to Gray’s death, which has sparked protests in Baltimore and in other cities across the country. Mosby said warrants had been issued for the officers’ arrests, but she could not confirm if they were currently in custody.

“Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon,” she said. She also added that officers had no probable cause to arrest Gray, and that the knife that was found in his possession was actually legal.

Residents celebrated in the Baltimore streets after the announcement was made.

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